Omicron cases doubling in 3 days in community transmission: WHO
Cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 are doubling in 1.5 to three days in areas where community transmission has begun, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday.
In a latest update, WHO said the variant is spreading very fast in countries which have high levels of population immunity, but it is not known if the rapid spread is due to the virus’ increased transmissibility, its ability to evade immunity, or both.
Omicron (B.1.1.529) was classified as a variant of concern by WHO on November 26 after it was discovered by scientists in South Africa. Since then, it has spread to almost 89 countries.
While a lot about the virus is yet to be discovered, WHO has said that the “current understanding of the Omicron variant will continue to evolve as more data becomes available.”
“There is still limited data on the clinical severity of Omicron,” WHO said.
The WHO has said that the threat posed by Omicron will be determined by four factors: its transmissibility, how well vaccines and prior infection protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease and death; how virulent the variant is compared to other variants, and how populations understand these dynamics, perceive risk and follow control measures, including public health and social measures.
The WHO on Friday said that Omicron is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa, and that the new variant is likely to outpace Delta variant where there is community transmission.